“I am not a blue angel”: Sexuality from the perspective of autistic adolescentes

Aline Veras Morais Brilhante Leila Maria de Andrade Filgueira Samuel Verter Marinho Uchôa Lopes Nathalie Barreto Saraiva Vilar Lívia Rocha Mesquita Nóbrega Ana Juarina Magalhães Verissimo Pouchain Luiz Carlos Gabriele Sucupira About the authors

Abstract

Despite the difficulties in living their sexualities, the sexual education of autistic people is often neglected. In this sense, this research aims to identify autistic people’s demands on their sexualities, in line with the neurodiversity paradigm. This qualitative research was carried out from September 2017 to October 2018, with 14 autistic children aged 15 to 17 enrolled in regular schools. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews and analyzed according to the thematic content analysis. Two analytical categories were identified: “discursive processes and the ‘blue angel’ imagery”; and “diversity in diversity: the sexuality of autistic people as singular processes”. The results show that, while autistic people grow physically and sexually according to the typical development stages, some singularities should not be ignored. However, the construction of false beliefs encourages the denial of autistic people’s sexuality. We can conclude that the establishment of effective actions of sexual education and support to the sexuality of the autistic person requires a paradigmatic change anchored in the social model of disability.

Key words:
Sexual education; Sexuality; Autism

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